Turkey Day Facts, Parade Pics and Trivia.

In honor of today’s holiday, I’ve rounded up some easy-to-digest Thanksgiving history, fun facts and trivia for you.

Thanksgiving facts and trivia

Thanksgiving Facts and Historical Triva
The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899)

thanksgiving facts and trivia

• The first Thanksgiving was observed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914).
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914).

• Approx Ninety (90) Native Americans were at the festivities

Samoset meets with the Native American Abnaki people of the Algonquin nation. Circa 1653.

Samoset was an Abenaki sagamore and the first Native American to make contact with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. He startled the colonists on March 16, 1621, by walking into Plymouth Colony and greeting them in English, saying “welcome” The next day he brought Squanto with him, who was much more fluent in English. Squanto then arranged a meeting with Massasoit.

• in October of 1863 President Abraham Lincoln first declared that Thanksgiving should be observed on the final Thursday of November

lincoln's thanksgiving proclamation
President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, Oct. 1863

• in 1939, However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved it to the third Thursday of November. Why? To boost Christmas shopping (this is true).

president harry s truman pardoning a turkey

• President Harry S. Truman (shown above) began the tradition of pardoning a turkey. The turkey is most often sent to a petting zoo in Virginia.

kids petting turkeys
image courtesy of Affect Magazine

• The average American consumed 13.1 pounds of turkey in 2005

• In 2007, the us will produce 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes

• The first Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade was in 1924

A parade float from the Macy's 1926 Thanksgiving Day Parade
A parade float from the Macy’s 1926 Thanksgiving Day Parade

• 1934 was the first year the Detroit Lions played the first Thanksgiving day game. they faced off against the Chicago Bears source: us census bureau/macy’s, inc /detroit lions

And now, a bit about today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The parade got under way Thursday morning, mixing new attractions and longtime favorites, solemn tributes and lighthearted spectacle.

macy's thanksgiving day parade history

Carrying banners and flags, participants gathered on an unusually warm November morning for the parade. The lineup included three new balloons, 2,000 cheerleaders, 800 clowns, the Radio City Rockettes and 11 marching bands — among them the Virginia Tech Regimental Band, playing in honor of the victims of last spring’s campus shooting.

The 81st annual parade began with a Michael Feinstein tune especially written for 600 kids from around the nation, whose opening number was choreographed by John Dietrich of the Rockettes.

Below are a few images from early this morning in New York:
pikachu float
kids watching thanksgiving parade
snoopy parade balloon
blowing up the parade balloons
spectators at macy's thanksgiving day parade
kermit parade balloon

And my favorite pic from today’s parade:

Maurace Morris, 6, of Brooklyn mugs for the camera as the Shrek balloon is inflated in the background.
Maurace Morris, 6, of Brooklyn mugs for the camera as the Shrek balloon is inflated in the background.

Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

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